Will there be a by-election? What happens next after Jared O'Mara says he will resign as Sheffield Hallam MP?

Under-fire Jared O’Mara has exclusively told The Star he will resign as Sheffield Hallam MP within weeks.

By Sam Cooper
Saturday, 27th July 2019, 2:43 pm
Updated Wednesday, 31st July 2019, 5:55 pm
Jared O'Mara.
Jared O'Mara.

His comments come after the most damning week of a turbulent two years in office.

His former chief of staff Gareth Arnold quit in sensational fashion by posting a foul-mouthed rant on the MP’s own official Twitter account and a 20-year-old woman employed by the politician accused him of sexual harassment.

Mr O’Mara said: “Please let everyone be assured that I will be tendering my resignation via the official Parliamentary process as soon as term restarts.

Jared O'Mara.

“I am not in any fit state to continue and nor would that be appropriate if I was. I reiterate my apology to my constituents, the people of Sheffield and the people of the UK as whole.”

It comes after The Times published further details of the sexual harassment claims, including that the member of staff had ‘repressed sexual feelings’ for him and claimed he also told his staff: “I’ll have to nickname myself ‘Thrush’ because I irritate c***s.”

While much of Mr O’Mara’s two years representing the constituency has been characterised by controversy and criticism, this week may have been the most challenging yet for the 37-year-old.

And this afternoon, The Star exclusively revealed the MP intended to tender his resignation via the official Parliamentary process as soon as the summer recess comes to an end on Tuesday, September 3.

Once, Mr O’Mara has tendered his resignation, a by-election will be held to elect the MP for Sheffield Hallam.

The chief whip of the political party of the MP who has held the vacant seat starts the process of a by-election by moving the ‘writ’ but Mr O’Mara is an independent MP having resigned from the Labour party in July 2018.

It is understood that a convention is in place for the chief whip of one of the political parties in Westminster does so in the case of an independent MP.

The motion requests: “That the Speaker do issue his warrant to the clerk of the Crown to make out a new writ for the electing of a member to serve in this present Parliament for the constituency of .... in the room of...”

The Speaker puts the question to MPs to decide whether to agree to the motion.

If MPs agree it becomes an Order for the Speaker. The Speaker then issues a Warrant to the Clerk of the Crown who then sends the writ to the Returning Officer.

According to www.parliament.uk, the by-election timetable is between 21 and 27 working days from the issuing of the writ.

A new writ is usually issued within three months of the vacancy.

When asked to comment specifically on the sexual harassment allegations, Mr O’Mara said: “It’s all true.”

The statement added: “The poor attendance was due to my mental health. The jokes were jokes and I am not apologising for them. Nor should anyone who writes jokes as a form of fiction.

“Please understand that humour is fiction and an art form. I’m not calling myself a comedian, however to be clear. My sense of humour has always been blue. And dark and satirical.”